Putin’s ally says Ukrainian territories that vote to join Russia will be protected by Moscow as an impending ‘fake’ referendum.
Dmitry Medvedev, the former president of Russia, has said that any weapon in Moscow’s arsenal, including strategic nuclear weapons, can be used to defend the annexed territories. Russia from Ukraine.
Medvedev, Vice Chairman of Russia’s Security Council, also said on Thursday that referendum organized by separatist and Russian-installed governments in a large swath of occupied Ukraine will take place, and that “there will be no turning back”:
“Donbas [Donetsk and Luhansk] Other republics and territories will be accepted into Russia,” he said in a Telegram post, referring to breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine’s industrial heartland.
His comments came after President Vladimir Putin warned on Wednesday that Moscow would use “all available means” to protect Russia’s “territorial integrity” when he moves in. mobilize 300,000 combat reserves in Ukraine. The thinly veiled nuclear threat attracted condemn immediately from a wide range of Western leaders.
Prime Minister Medvedev, who regularly makes aggressive statements to the West and Ukraine, added that the defense of all territories would be significantly enhanced by the Russian armed forces.
“Russia has stated that not only its mobilizing capabilities, but any Russian weapon, including strategic nuclear weapons and new principles-based weapons, can be used for defense purposes,” he said. such protection.
Voting to join Russia will take place in Russia-hosted regions of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia Oblasts, as well as parts of Mykolaiv Oblast, from Friday – and much is expected. would produce overwhelming results on joining Russia.
The votes, which will take place under military occupation without any outside supervision, have been labeled by Kyiv and his Western allies as sham.
If officially admitted to the Russian Federation, the occupied territories, where Ukrainian counter-attack forces have gathered speed in recent weeks, will, according to Moscow’s nuclear doctrine, be entitled to protection. from Russia’s nuclear weapons.
Moscow does not fully control any of the four regions it is expected to attempt to annex, with only about 60% of Donetsk and 66% of Zaporizhia currently held by the Russian military.